The Sunday Magazine

A birthday tribute to Margaret Atwood

Canada's most celebrated writer turns 80 years old on Monday. We'll look back at Margaret Atwood's brilliant career -- through the wit, wisdom and stories about assorted hijinks and misadventures she’s brought to her many appearances on The Sunday Edition.
Award-winning Canadian author Margaret Atwood turns 80. (Liam Sharp)

I've never kept an actual count, but I would reckon that over the past 30 years, I have interviewed Margaret Atwood more than any other guest.

There are several very good reasons for this. Foremost, she is a great talker; she speaks in paragraphs, in colourful language, in an admixture of playfulness, erudition and humour.

But she is no easy mark in the interviewing biz. She listens with fearsome attention. Sometimes she would turn the tables on me and say something like "I don't know Michael, what do you think?"

Author Margaret Atwood in conversation with Michael Enright at a Literary Review of Canada fundraiser in November 2018. (Louie Palu/LRC)

She is patient and utterly accommodating. One Sunday in Newfoundland, I reminded her of the day and asked her to sing a hymn. Which she promptly did.

And even though she is perhaps the best-known novelist in the world, she never traded on her extraordinary reputation.

Nov. 18 is her 80th birthday. As a humble tribute and birthday gift, we present Margaret Atwood as she has appeared over the years on The Sunday Edition.

- Michael Enright

Click 'listen' above to hear highlights from Margaret Atwood's interviews over the years.


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